Friday, 18 April 2014

#SEBloggers Covent Garden Meet up!

Amid the hustle and bustle of the tube, in which I somewhat successfully clawed my way through a myriad of cramped and sweaty bodies, I arrived at the Covent Garden Blogger Meet. I did the one thing that copious amounts of ICT teachers and my parents have instructed me NEVER to do. "Never meet up with the people you've met online.", they repeatedly (and exasperatingly) told me. "You're a sensible girl, you wouldn't do something so stupid!". As it turns out, I did.

Hours in abundance of critically assessing my nonchalant wardrobe resulted in an outfit that I was half-pleased with, although a last minute assessment of the misconceiving, sunny but bone-chilling weather forced me to grab a warmth-administering cardigan as I was running out the door. Camera charged; business cards in bag and a plethora of nervous energy encompassing me, I set off.

The weather held out in our favour, albeit bone-chilling as predicted on more than one occassion but minus any sudden downpours. Upon arriving in Covent Garden an hour early, I wandered around, getting to grips with the wonderful aroma's of Paella, the enticing nature of designer shops and becoming absorbed in the abnormality of street entertainment. 

We're all too absorbed in our own lives and time constraints that we rarely step back and appreciate the unique, and yes, whilst odd at times, flair for individuality to be found within such a growing and varied city that London is fast becoming. Designer shops sit next to vintage clothing stores and men dressed up as dogs and pirates line the streets. To add a touch of creativity to the old saying about Rome; "When in London, do as the Londoners do." If that means walking around with a Starbucks cup grasped within your clammy hands in the hope of looking cool, or painting yourself gold in the hope of some change, or meeting up with complete strangers in the hope that 16 year old Charlotte from Kent is not a 45 year old guy called Lee from Nottingham, London is the place to be. 

Thankfully, with the exclusion of a few, there were not too many awkward silences. All of the possible sentence starters I had in my head vanished upon arrival at Starbucks, as Lydia pointed out to console our like minded thoughts. 

Whilst seated in the downstairs of Starbucks, it became rather funny how each time we heard a door slam or footsteps pattering down the stairs the growing number of us instinctively turned our heads in the hope that yet another fashionably dressed blogger with perfect make up would stroll effortlessly through the door. With only four (albeit four red velvet, extremely comfy) single sofa chairs to our name, Aileen and I made it our mission to hunt down various other forms of bottom-supporting furniture. It was only when the majority of over bloggers arrived that we received multiple disapproving looks from the Starbucks staff regarding the extortionate number of chairs tucked around the one table and the chair-less tables throughout the rest of the downstairs. You know, and the fact that we moved an entire (huge) table to fit our needs, which required about six of us to do so.

With 10 bloggers out of the supposedly 22 that were meant to be frolicking around London with us, we headed off from Starbucks in order to partake in a good bit of ol' window shopping. Our purses locked safely away in the depths of our overflowing bags, we hit the shops. Our first venture was into Sass and Belle, which embodies my ideal bedroom/house/life. I was in awe of the legions of pretty pieces that lined the shelves to which my purse was too empty to satisfy my needs. Surprise surprise. After resisting (read: after not being physically and mentally able to resist) the abounding shelves of Boots, we decided that those missing 12 bloggers could either carry on ignoring us or find somewhere new to go, as we had waited 2 hours for their sorry little bottoms to (not) turn up.

We hunted down Zizzi's whereby Aileen had to embarrassingly admit our numbers were down by 12, which proceeded into the staff re-arranging god knows how many tables. Subsequently we sat down (the nimblest of us nabbing the sofa bench mwhaha) and scrutinized what the menu had to offer us. Amongst the vast array of delights that were upon offer I settled upon my trusty and safe option of a margherita pizza with Chicken, and a large bottle of mineral water. Adventurous, I know. All of the wonderful specimens of italian food at my pleasure and I choose the most mundane of meals.  

With wonderful aromas of pizza and pasta wafting in our direction within the realms of the beautifully decorated restaurant, the whole group grabbed their boxes in order to partake in the Easter Box Swap. Whilst Megan and I (who craftily planned to sit next to one another) were involved in a pre-arranged swap by Chloe (who was in fact in attendance on the day AND last months advertiser!), the rest of the group passed around their carefully thought out boxes around the table in an anti-clockwise order reminiscent of pass the parcel minus the music and screaming children with snotty noses. I was overwhelmed by the thought and effort that Megan had put into my box. Not only were the goodies encompassed by an array of gorgeous (duckling, may I add) and hot pink tissue paper, they exceeded my expectations! I received 3 adorable fabric hearts; 'Come Clean' by Terri Paddock; a dainty little necklace from Forever 21 as well as 2 pretty pink little hair slides; a HUGE bag of tiny marshmallows; and two nail varnishes in the shades 'Corals Up' and 'Nebline' from the Maybelline Colour Show collection. I was absolutely blown away by the exquisite thought and care that Megan had carefully wrapped up with delightful ribbons and tissue paper! I believe that Megan and I spent a good 10 minutes or so rummaging through each others' boxes and having a good old natter, to the utmost pleasure of the other girls who had finished box opening and thank-you-ing 5 minutes previous.

Upon arrival of our food, which to our relief arrived exactly as ordered, we got munching. Or I should say, cutting with supposedly sharp knives that could not cut a pizza base in one swift movement to save their lives. It may have felt like scrouplessly cutting slices of cardboard but this did indeed contrast with the actual taste of the food, which was delicious albeit extremely filling! In all honesty, I believe that we burnt off more calories cutting the pizza than we gained eating it! 

Deeming that the red telephone boxes outside of the restaurant would make a brilliant on-the-go photo shoot set up, we proceeded in asking a scout to arm himself up with an array of tech and snap some pictures of us all! It may have been rather cringe-inducing and awkward with the hundreds of bags we seemed to have acquired, but nonetheless the images didn't turn out too shabby.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of browsing around in various shops and having a good giggle, and finally a good chat after many a awkward question asked when you had a full mouth of food-kind-of-situations. During our (lengthy) escapade into Urban Outfitters, the majority of us fell vulnerable to it's infective charm and ended up handing over our hard earned pennies in exchange for some wonderful bits and bobs. I picked up a candle for £6 called 'Prosecco' and whilst I can't quite place my finger on the smell, it has a heavy feeling of nostalgia so perhaps I'll have a brainwave at somepoint in the future as to where the scent originated from.

After feasting our eyes upon the somewhat granny-ish delights that Cath Kidston had on display, the depleting numbers of us headed over to Rokit, a wonderful vintage store nearby the centre of Covent Garden and UO. The store was chock-block with beautiful vintage pieces in bold bright prints, counterparted by a lot of denim. Not that I could ever pull off half of the shops' content. 

At around 5 o clock we all said our goodbyes and headed off to our respective stations in order to make the reluctant journey home. Lots of hugs and thank you's were said, and our woeful faces promised to meet up with one another sometime soon. Armed with goody bags and an abundance of other goodies we set off home. All in all, I had an incredible day, and luckily no creepy men were hiding under the twitter mask of a blogger. All of the girls I met were absolutely lovely and I am eagerly anticipating the day in which we will all be re-united!

Check out the girls' Links:

Have you ever been to a blogger meet, or do you plan to do so? 

I'm currently on a short week away in Wales so I do apologise for the apparent lack in posts and internet-y activity in general! Have a brilliant week!
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